Oh Grumpsome day! Callooh! Callay!*

Cat has sore paw, car has poor brakes. Pah.

Still nice run this afternoon, unexpectedly at home due to sickness of car.


Starting to get some nice autumnal foliage, though it is still quite warm here at the moment.

Quite amazing day yesterday at Kew (as an ex-employee I thought I was immune to wonder, turns out I’m not); we visited the Economic Botany collection. Sounds dull? Well yes, I have always felt it was a bit too heavy on gourds and dust, but if you are taken round by the right person it is really quite magical. It was just like Warehouse 13 (I can’t be the only person to have watched it 3 times through on Netflix?) but with plants.

Clothing made from bark or Celmisia leaves, a vegetable sheep about the size of a small armchair, jewellery made from rubber; and to be honest, anywhere that suffers from an outbreak of biscuit beetles… But more seriously, some of the items in there are the only remains of now lost crafts or activities – a salmon basket from the River Severn in the UK, plant uses or weaving techniques no longer practiced.

And the intention is (given time and resources) to contact the people whose artefacts were collected, and invite them to collaborate in the exploration of their cultural significance (ie invite them over to see the artefacts, and work out if and how it would be possible to recapture the skills needed to make such things). Pretty much the equivalent of having an ex-situ rare plant collection and aiming to reintroduce the plants where they once grew.) Always caught up with awkward post-colonial issues, and umpteen current ethical and ecological problems, but still a good thing overall.

Anyway, a sad time has arrived here; the loss of a bicycle. The need to move and to liquidate some assets due to the slowness of that process has resulted in placing a bike on Ebay. Dear Gertie is sadly the one to go first (I hope not to have to part with the others). We have had many happy times together, not least in the Dolomites where we stayed glued to each other up and down some truly frightening roads. I will miss her, she has been a very lovely bike.


Claud is unsellable I think, due to age and oddness. Sandy (Tern folding) is more useful as she can be taken on public transport (it is very difficult to take non-folding bikes on trains and buses here as we are too close to both London and Brighton). So Gertie it is, sniffle.

* Jabber (very) wocky Lewis Carroll 


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